Another shutter on Balboa: Victoria’s Pizzeria closes its doors

Victoria's Pizzeria at 3605 Balboa closed its doors recently.

Victoria’s Pizzeria at 3605 Balboa closed its doors recently.

It’s been a tough week for the outer Balboa food scene. Yesterday we told you about Nibs Bakery closing, and today we learned that Victoria’s Pizzeria at 3605 Balboa near 37th Avenue is also closed.

Victoria’s, owned by a man named Anton, has been serving up New York style pizza for 35 years from their purple and yellow storefront. It was a popular spot to grab a slice before or after a movie at the Balboa Theater.

Reader Jason tells us that the closure is due to the owner having a serious illness. A for sale sign was posted on Victoria’s door a few weeks before it closed.

“My absolute favorite pizza place in the city closed. Anton was there for over 35 years and worked EVERY DAY with the exception of Christmas. A mild mannered and quiet man he always smiled and welcomed you to his store. We will miss Anton terribly and wish him well,” Jason told us in an email.

Anton, also a painter, would display his artwork on the pizzeria’s walls.

“The paintings are his art, and whenever I come in, I love seeing which new paintings have gone up on the wall,” wrote one Yelp reviewer.

Another Yelp reviewer, who had been eating at Victoria’s since childhood wrote, “Sure, it’s a complete dive and hole in the wall establishment, but it’s been a fixture on Balboa for over 20 years. I love this place for the memories I had growing up, and I still drool over the gooey hot pizza…Anton is a bit of a renaissance man. All you have to do is get to know him and you’ll hear about his fascinating life story.”

That leaves Pizza Joint at the corner of 32nd and Balboa as the last pie place standing.

Sarah B.

Artwork by Victoria's owner on the shop walls. Photo by Jeff S. / Yelp

Artwork by Victoria’s owner on the shop walls. Photo by Jeff S. / Yelp


  1. I remember going in there once and a Chinese drama was playing on the small TV behind the counter. I asked if he spoke Chinese, and he said something to the effect of “No, I just like watching the story.”

  2. This place was really gross. Dirty, bad quality food and poor service. It is sad that businesses that have a history shot down in this neighborhood, but this place needs to go. Let’s hope a healthy, clean and friendly establishment fills the spot- like Marlas Bakery or Cassava!

  3. Healthy and clean are typically terms white people use as code to usher in homogeneous fare to suit their culturally narrow tastes. Move to another hood if you want fussie foodie plates.

  4. Can’t say I feel bad or surprised about losing that place. Their pizza was really REALLY lousy.

  5. Hazbeen,

    Or should I address you as has-been. Why are you creating a race/ethnicity issue here you asshole. I am talking about sanitation as a health and medical professional. Also as someone who knows and appreciates actual food as opposed to processed shit, I 100 percent stand by the closing of this horrible eatery.

  6. Yeah, that’s out of line. Since when is it acceptable to target people on this forum based on their race (which you cannot possibly know, btw). Guess it’s ok if they’re ‘white.’

  7. @Gretchen – Please watch your language, no need for profanity. You are welcome to disagree with each other, but please be respectful.

  8. I’m white. Difference is I grew up in multi-cultural, mostly non-ehite Richmond. I moved back to avoid the bland, culturally-homogenous shit that spread like fire across this and every other city. I like grimy dim sum, shitty pizza, and dank bars. You and your kind have everywhere else. I throw my lot in with immigrant and working-class families who eat food that doesn’t distinguish itself from…what, non-actual food?! Retead what you wrote, Gretchen. Cheap pizza and Chinese must are be “actual” food. Hear that folks? Her words not mine. Good thing your people came to educate us and show us the right way to eat. That’s very Colonial, I mean noble of you. Manifest destiny is alive and well.

  9. Why are assigning me a class and skin color? You know absolutely nothing about me and what neighborhood I am from or even live in. You obviously are an angry person with no backing to any of your comments.

  10. I hope we get a new, different pizza place in there; we need a nearby place to get a good pie! Sorry to hear about Anton’s illness; I had a lovely chat with him once about the Korean drama he was watching the day I was in there. The colors and textures served as inspiration for his art, so he didn’t need ti understand what they were saying. Also, his mother was a Sami (indigenous person from Lapland), and that influenced him as well. I do hope we get a homey place, and not a hipster outpost akin to the (admittedly lovely and tasty but pricey for this ‘hood) Marla Bakery.

  11. I this place has always been a little strange – pizza / slices just weren’t that great (i heard pizzas were better if you ordered them but never tried)
    still hope that the richmond doesn’t get too “healthy clean and friendly”, that sounds a lot like “boring”

  12. @Gretchen, you know this is Sarah B’s blog, right? That she runs by herself, on top of her full-time job, as a free service to the neighborhood? So it would be considerate to tone down your language when she asks you politely.

  13. @cath I did not know this but she should speak to the angry folks on here being rude besides me defending myself. I am not the only person noting the low quality of the food at this shop. I have lived here for years and frequent more than the two shops I noted. Nibs is my coffee shop as is Simple Pleasures. We also frequent the corner Chinese and are friends with the owner. This pizza place was particularly dirty to me and I have seen it decline over the years. I am allowed to have my opinion as are you and others.

  14. I have just moved to Austin not even 3 weeks ago. I lived on 38th AV between Fulton and Cabrillo for 26 years. Anton was a dear hard working man than ran his storefront and delivered. I am terribly sorry to hear of his troubles. He was a fixture for me and I always enjoyed him. Bless you Anton and may you heal in the grace that you lived.

  15. Sorry to hear of Anton’s troubles. I wish him well. It was not my favorite pizza, but he was a unique character with stories to tell. He liked to paint there and the shop is full of his paintings. A Laplander, with a Polynesian wife and children. He told me how he got the recipe for his New York Style Pizza Crust. His friend in the Village had a family Pizzeria and promised Anton the family recipe. One day, Anton’s friend called to tell him it was his chance. The pizza patriarch was too hung over to stand after after his daughter’s wedding. Lying on a stretcher, he directed his son how to make it and Anton followed with notebook in hand…

  16. I was a little surprised once after ordering a pizza from Victoria’s and when the doorbell rang, it was Anton delivering the pizza himself! Sad to see it go.

  17. Wishing Anton the best. His place was run on quirkiness as much as anything and the high schoolers that frequented just wanted a quick slice, definitely not the foodie crowd. Anton was fun to talk to and I am sorry we’re losing such a charming place. Character has a value all its own.

  18. Agreed, this place served lousy pizza and was super gross inside, they owner though was very nice and I wish him all the best!

  19. You guys need to chill out. Gretchen, not everyone wants expensive bakeries everywhere. Hazbeen, you are beyond ridiculous. This isn’t a college campus and race baiting is an amateur way to make your point. Born and raised in this neighborhood and you are as much of a problem as the people you rail against. Go harass a google bus somewhere else.

  20. If you want great tasting pizza you can do what I did, install a pizza oven in your backyard. Nothing beats a home made pizza!!

  21. Franz! Brilliant! We do need a pizza joint and a Nibs like spot. Where will we get our comfort foods.

  22. CATH
    Don’t forget that Sarah B also runs the amazing Nourish Cafe in addition to the full time job and blog,… pretty light schedule; time to add something else Sarah B ?

  23. @hazbeen “Grimy dim sum, shitty pizza and dank bars” are totally homogenous, you can find those institutions anywhere in the country. I mean hey if you like that stuff, more power to you, but that doesn’t make you a special edgy snowflake.

  24. @KarlYoung: Oh, I meant Nourish AS her full-time job! But yes, Sarah’s energy is amazing, and I really appreciate that she’s kept the blog going even after Nourish opened.

  25. @ANGRY PEOPLE!!!!!
    Simmer down and stay focused…
    instead, here’s some jokes about pizza. You’ll find them very cheesy….

    Q: How do you fix a broken pizza?
    A: With tomato paste.

    Q: How do you get the Arizona State grad off your front porch?
    A: Pay for the pizza

    Q: What’s the difference between an Mel Gibson movie and a pizza?
    A: Pizzas are good.

    Q: Why did the man go into the pizza business?
    A: He wanted to make some dough.

    Q: “Waiter, will my pizza be long?”
    A: “No sir, it will be round!”

    Q: Why is a pizza better than Justin Bieber?
    A: Everything’s better than that piece of crap.

    Q: What’s the difference between a redneck and a large pepperoni pizza?
    A: A large pepperoni pizza can feed a family of four!

    Q: What’s the difference between a pizza and my pizza jokes?
    A: My pizza jokes can’t be topped!

  26. Finally this place closed, it was disgusting. A little too peasant friendly if you ask me. Can’t wait for them to put a craft beer bar in there, or maybe an upscale restaurant. Then finally some of these dumps might close and the neighborhood would become respectable enough for the GBUS to come out here. I think I am being a little too hopeful on this one.

  27. Finally someone that has their head on straight lives out here! I am tired of all of these gross eating establishments. This area needs to follow the sign of the times and change along with the rest of the city.

  28. Even if you didn’t like his pizza, Anton was a kind man and probably tried his best to run a decent business. Given that he’s currently sick, is it respectful to rejoice in his lost and difficulties? would you like it if people just talk shit about your work while something bad was happening your life?

  29. Thank you Richmond native. He is a kind and honest person and I cringe reading some of these comments trashing Victorias. The place closed. Let it go. i thought it was a fine pizzeria.

  30. Sorry if my comment above sounded like I was trashing Victorias – it was actually a reference to the 2 previous comments (and I realize that maybe it was a little too obscure).

  31. Yeah, I’ve lived in a 6 block radius since 1989 and 17 years at my current place (why this matters I don’t know) But The pizza there blew and the atmosphere was nasty. Sorry to say. I hope a good burger place moves in– that is my opinion no one can dispute MY opinion.

  32. @jonathan It doesn’t matter how long you’ve live in the Richmond but only what you’ve contributed to the neighborhood… If you’re just going to continue bitching about a place that is already gone… hopefully you’re out next.

  33. Some people ought to be ashamed of their negative comments. The health department in SF always gave Anton a 100 rating and his restaurant was clean- he complained to me once when they gave him a 98!
    Anton about 12 years ago won a citywide contest for best tasting pizza crust in SF (it was posted in the restaurant). He used an old time recipe from NYC and I was surprised to find this right in my neighborhood in SF (I’m an E. Coast transplant).
    The pizza was very good, but the slices were hit or miss especially if you showed up after the lunch rush and after 8pm. I’m a baker by trade and worked in the pizza business for over ten years. The crust Anton used was second to none; those of us who knew him well are very saddened that he’s gone. Anton was the hardest working man I’ve ever known, he was kind, a bit eccentric (yes the Korean language TV, I recall that as well) but he was very kind and it was always a pleasure to visit him in my neighborhood. I live a block away from Victoria’s and was always looking forward to visiting Anton on weekends and enjoy the great pizzas he made.
    Hope you get well soon my friend.

  34. I did not like the food at Victoria’s but there were plenty of customers so good for him and them. I’m certain that none of the negative commenters here have the stones to buy the business and do it the way they think it should be done…

    @SarahB why the uneven criticism? There is no need for racist comments on this issue, either for or against Victoria’s.

  35. In better news… Suka just opened on 6th and there’s something coming soon right on the corner there as well. Looks like a bar.

  36. Wow!
    That was one of the funniest threads I’ve read.
    It described the change this neighborhood has made and is going through. Just remember when it’s gone it’s gone. Or just remember, like when pops ops was a liquor/candy store or little Henry’s
    Having Parkman and space invaders, we even had a gas station… Anyway keep it real balboa

  37. I walked past the Victoria’s storefront this evening, and met a fellow who identified himself as a new owner of an upcoming business that will be moving in there. He said he is planning a new Cuban sandwich shop that will offer small bites and some type of Cuban-style pizzas.

  38. Whereas I was never drawn back to Victoria’s for the pizza or atmosphere, per se, I did have a wonderful experience there. I really needed something to eat and though I had second thoughts, I went in. Anton put a slice in the oven and and stood watching Korean soap operas. After awhile, I asked if he spoke Korean. He smiled and talked of his love of languages and different cultures. He was watching to learn Korean. We (he) spoke about Japanese, Chinese, Hungarian, FInnish, Arabic, Hebrew, Aramaic. He has studied the bible in Aramaic. My evening was transformed. I walked in making presumptions about the place and the man and was turned on my ear. It made me glad I was so wrong in my assumptions (though maybe I was more right about the pizza – no offense, Anton). Anyway, real people make real connections. I wish you well, Anton and thanks!

  39. just checking in to see if there were any more funny posts here… too bad. I guess i’ll have to move on as well. Was a running battle to see which was worst, anton’s art or his pizza.

  40. Sarah, is this place still for sale? I would like to open a 2nd spot and love that area on Balboa. Please let me know if so, thanks!

  41. @Joe – Not sure, haven’t been out there in a bit. Drive out and see! There may be other spots on Balboa open if that one is not.

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